Every so often, friends send me videos they think should be on my radar.
The latest clip shared on my Facebook page was ”The Parent Rap” from Bluefish TV’s parenting series. The video features a mom and dad rapping about their lives after kids — “My PB&Js will set your world on fire. I could make you mac ’n’ cheese blindfolded on a wire.” Although the video was originally uploaded to YouTube in May, it has only recently gone viral.
The Huffington Post recently published a piece about everyday parents rapping about life after baby as an online trend.
And parent raps from average folks on social sites are indeed fairly new.
But rapping about parenthood in general is not, says Alfonso Jones, a producer and owner of Icon One Music in Omaha.
Before rapper 2Pac released the hit single “Dear Mama” in 1995, he rapped about the hardships of fatherhood in “Papa’z Song.” The first half of that 1994 song speaks to the anger of growing up fatherless; the rapper then switches gears and raps as if he’s a father explaining the reasons for his absence.
A more upbeat example would be Will Smith’s “Just the Two of Us.” In the 1998 rap, Smith took time to give inspirational words to his first son, Trey.
And if you want to go way back, we’ll point you to Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs’ 1991 song “Be a Father to Your Child,” which encouraged young men to take responsibility.
Tomm Roland, interim chair for the University of Nebraska at Omaha music department, said there’s just as much “value in talking about violence and poverty in communities as talking about someone who persevered and came out of those things to have a regular life and become a dad.” He teaches two “Music of the People” courses about world music and rock history.
Take Ice Cube, he said, “a rapper who came straight out of Compton who now makes children’s movies.”
“If rap is supposed to be getting across ideas and rapping about real life and things that real people go through,” he said, then parenthood is definitely fodder for that genre.
“It’s only natural that most people in life become parents.”
One of the latest stars to embrace parent rap was Jay-Z, who hit the studio to record “Glory” the night after his wife, Beyonce, gave birth to their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in January.
Nas also has embraced fatherhood. The East Coast rapper released “Daughters” in July.
Jay-Z and Nas are at different stages in their lives, Jones explained.
“They’re up in age … and can’t keep rapping about the same thing or it wouldn’t be credible,” Jones said. “They’re already rich. They have a fan base.
They’re not trying to make it rain anymore. They’re now focused on parenthood and responsibility.”
Every musician, regardless of the genre, evolves, Jones said, and parenthood is just one piece to it.
He predicted we’d hear more about fatherhood from Jay-Z.
But don’t limit your parent rap exploration to famous moms and dads.
Click on the video from the California dad known as Sam Deezy, who created “Daddy Skills,” a video where he raps about “extra-early mornings, advanced diaper-changing technique and the ins and outs of playground etiquette.”
Or from the Houston dad who rapped — to the beat of the fetal monitor — in a delivery room.
Or on the clip of the mom whose LMFAO parody, “I’m Pregnant and I Know It,” went viral.
Watch the videos and tell me what you think below in the comment section.
Here are 10 of the coolest raps about fatherhood in no random order:
1. Nas, “Daughters”
Nas raps about the tribulations of raising his teenage daughter Destiny on his new single. He opens up about the conflicts between being a rap star and a strict parent.
2. Jay-Z, “Glory”
On the night after Blue Ivy Carter was born, Jay-Z hit the studio to record this heartfelt dedication to his newborn.
3. Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs, “Be a Father to Your Child”
Ed O.G. created an anthem for the hip-hop generation. This song encouraged young fathers to stand up and take responsibility.
4. 2Pac “Papa’z Song”
Before 2Pac released the hit single “Dear Momma,” he rapped about the hardships of growing up without a father. But while the first half of the song speaks to the anger of growing up fatherless, 2Pac raps as if he is a father explaining the reasons for his absence on the second half of the song. It’s an emotional look at how unplanned parenthood can affect so many lives.
5. Nas, “Bridging the Gap”
In what could be the first father-son duet in hip-hop, Nas teamed up with his father, Olu Dara, to combine two generations of music.
6. Common featuring Lonnie “Pops” Lynn, “Pop’s Rap 2/Fatherhood”
At the end of all of his albums, Common allows his father Lonnie “Pops” Lynn to do a spoken word piece that’s always insightful. On the album “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” Pops gives keen advice to young parents with this song.
7. Talib Kweli, “Black Girl Pain”
Talib Kweli raps about raising his daughter to be a strong woman and how fatherhood encourages him to pursue greatness.
8. Will Smith, “Just the Two of Us”
Will Smith took time to give inspirational words to his first son, Trey.
9. The Game, “Like Father Like Son”
The Game rapped an open letter to his son about making the right decisions in life.
10. Ja Rule, “Daddy’s Little Baby”
Ja Rule takes a moment to speak to his daughter about the traps of chasing the fast life.
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